- The Washington Times - Monday, June 10, 2002

Becoming American
"In New England, politics was divided on Catholic-Protestant lines up through 1960 as much as politics is divided on black-white lines today. The Irish propensity for large families made Yankee Republicans proponents of birth control (President George W. Bush's mother supported Planned Parenthood even as she had five children herself) in an effort to prevent being outnumbered by Catholics. But it was in vain. In 1918, Henry Cabot Lodge defeated John F. Fitzgerald in a Senate race [in Massachusetts] divided on Catholic-Protestant lines; by 1952 the numbers had changed enough that Fitzgerald's grandson [John F. Kennedy] defeated Lodge's grandson for re-election.
"The strong Irish preference for Democrats continued up through 1960, when Fitzgerald's grandson was elected president. In that election, 78 percent of Catholics voted for John Kennedy, while 63 percent of white Protestants voted for the Scots-Irish Protestant Richard Nixon. Four years later, even as Lyndon Johnson was elected by a landslide, the Catholic Democratic percentage declined slightly to 76 percent; it has never remotely approached those levels since. You can only elect the first Irish Catholic president once. The election of Kennedy, his high job approval, the pomp and ceremony of his funeral all established conclusively that Catholics were fully American Today Irish Catholics vote pretty much like the electorate as a whole."
Michael Barone, from the new book "Beyond the Color Line," edited by Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom

Murderous debate
"The occasion for [Palestinian] introspection was the death of three 15-year-old boys after their ineffective assault on nearby Netzarim. By contrast, an attack committed by a 17-year-old on a school of 'army-bound religious Israelis at the Gush Katif settlements' that killed seven 'young cadets' in southern Gaza 'remained within the bounds of what is acceptable.' Why? Because the 17-year-old had been trained in the use of his rifle and grenades, and he was 'a longtime follower of a legendary Hamas activist who was killed by Israeli troops after a lengthy run of leading anti-occupation agitation.' Imagine: the Gazan equivalent of the debate over the drinking age.
"The substance of internal Palestinian and Arab debate over the murder of innocents has turned not just on the appropriate age of the designated killer but also on precisely which innocents to kill and when. There is the orthodox view of the president of Syria, who believes all Israeli civilians are legitimate targets. There is disagreement as to whether the deaths of Israeli-Arab civilians who frequent restaurants are acceptable collateral damage, though the prevailing opinion seems to be that they are. On one thing all parties agree: Seeking out and shooting a 5-year-old through the head on the West Bank is just fine. Who would have thought the deliberate targeting of civilians contained so many rich aspects for debate?"
Laurence Grafstein, writing on "Age Limit," in the June 10 issue of the New Republic

'Road' money
"$190 approximate gas cost of driving I-80 from New York City to San Francisco.
"$52 Cost of making the trip in 1951, the year Jack Kerouac wrote his seminal Beat novel, 'On the Road.'
"$60 Cost of the trip if driving a Honda Insight a gas/electric hybrid car that gets about 68 mpg on highways.
"$2.4 million Price paid at auction in 2001 for the manuscript of 'On the Road,' written on a single scrolled sheet of paper.
"$15.95 Price of the new, updated edition of Jane and Michael Stern's classic 1976 guide, 'Roadfood.'
"$5.50 Cost of the toll for driving the length of the New Jersey Turnpike.
"$865 Price of Clarion's in-dash DVD player, including roof-mounted flip-down screen and remote
"$39.95 Cost of an audiobook of Homer's 'Odyssey,' read by Ian McKellan"
Amy Wilson in "Price Points: On The Road" in the June issue of Money magazine

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